Never Coming Down
The days of landing a drone to recharge it could be coming to an end.
On Sunday, entertainment vlogger David Fordham published an interview with William Kallman, co-founder of wireless tech company Global Energy Transmission (GET). In the video, recorded from the floor of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Showcase, Kallman describes how his company has found a way to use an electromagnetic field to keep drones in the air indefinitely — and the potential impact of the tech is hard to overstate.
According to Kallman, GET has found a way to create a "power cloud" that can charge a drone while it's in flight.
The system comprises a ground-based power station with a frame of wires positioned in a roughly circular shape. When turned on, this creates an electromagnetic field in the air near the station. A drone equipped with a special antennae charges by flying into the range of the power cloud.
Eight minutes of charge time translates to 30 minutes of flight. One of GET's power stations and two customized drones, each capable of carrying 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds), currently costs $120,000.
For Better or Worse
It's hard to overstate the potential for drones to change our world, but for seemingly every positive use for the machines (package delivery, search and rescue operations), there's a negative one to consider (military weaponry, citizen surveillance).
So, sure, a drone that never needs to land would be amazingly beneficial for moviemaking and sports coverage — two uses Kallman notes in the interview — but it's hard to imagine military or government officials wouldn't be highly interested in GET's drone charging tech as well.
READ MORE: In-Flight Charging Gives Drones Unlimited Autonomous Range [New Atlas]
More on drone charging: Shoot This Military Drone With a Laser, and It’ll Stay in the Air Indefinitely
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